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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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WTLLLLJI   V025T   HmtBOLBT.
mess lies in its twofold past,  and in the ruins which
reveal it.    These ruins  seemed to  Humholdt such a
peculiar   whole,   that   he   grudged   the  spot another
historical development, from fear that what already
existed might be injured hy it.     He cherished this
enthusiasm  not only in the moment of enjoyment :
the feeling for Roman greatness never left him, "but
stands forth as the theme of a whole course of sonnets^
and is also expressed in an article on Groethe^s second
visit to Rome, in which he says—" Rome's greatness
consists principally in  something connected indisso-
lubly with the whole; with the mixture  of ancient
and  modern splendour; with the ruins which meet
the  eye for miles;   with the plains, the mountains
enclosing it, the long series of historic recollections,
and indistinct tradition.    This was plainly shown at
the time when it was robbed of its best treasures of
art, of the memorable  remnants of antiquity., in a
shameful and undignified manner.     There will always
be a great difference between  countries and  towns
which were themselves the  scenes  of classical anti-
quity, and those which were never warmed by that
first ennobling influence on humanity.    In the latter,
the antique works of art resemble only a collection oŁ
articles brought together from all parts ; in the for-
mer, the soil  itself is impregnated with the feeling,
and seems to bear them in inexhaustible profusion^ like
trees and fruit/'    But few can share such high appre-
ciation   and  enjoyment truly.     The Romans   know
their city more from the reflex of the impression it
makes on strangers, and the real traveller rarely can
harmonize in such exalted feelings as those of Hum-
boldt.     It is only with the artists residing there that
one can associate; with such who make it their intel-
lectual and spiritual home;  who commence studies
there, or continue former ones, or give themselves up
entirely to the pure enjoyment which is afforded to
all the senses3 and yet affords such aa inexhaustible
depth for research,
Humboldt wrote a long elegy, entitled  "Borne/'
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